Ginninderra Project: 2016 Year in review

2016 has been a milestone year for the Ginninderra venture.

In a year that marked CSIRO’s 100th birthday, momentum increased on a project that we believe will leave a legacy for the next 100 years and beyond.

Some of the highlights and milestones across the calendar year are included below.

Amendment 86

Our land was reclassified to ‘Urban’ under the National Capital Plan Amendment 86, giving us the opportunity to move forward with planning.

With the re-reclassification, further significant work was undertaken on areas that could be developed on the site and those that would need to be conserved as part of our commitment to conservation.

The decision to reclassify the land also allowed us to approach the market for Expressions of Interest from suitably qualified development partners.

In 2017, we expect to shortlist applicants and ask them to respond with a Request for Proposal, which will include a draft development control plan. Our joint-development partner will also assist us in ongoing discussions with the community and government (both at a territory and federal level).

Affordable Housing Think Tank

Ideas generated at our Affordable Housing Think Tank in April have provided a springboard for further developing our approach to tackling an entrenched national issue. Thirty experts from the housing sector, ACT and federal government agencies, community organisations and CSIRO research teams took part and focused on identifying solutions to make housing affordable for people receiving the lowest 40% of incomes.

The opportunity for different financing and governance models along with design factors and provision of a diversity of housing stock, were among the many potential solutions covered. Participants also put forward a raft of ideas including measures to reduce household living costs in order to achieve life cycle affordability.

Community engagement

We continued our commitment to ongoing community engagement in 2016 and met with many groups and individuals during the year.

In June, we invited experts from several ACT environmental groups for an on-site visit to discuss the heritage and environmental protection issues and opportunities at Ginninderra. We then held a follow-up workshop to seek their initial ideas and advice on managing key ecological values.

We held neighbourhood drop-in sessions at Evatt and at Gold Creek in August, where approximately 200 members of the community attended and provided ideas and feedback.

We also attended community council meetings in Belconnen and Gungahlin, and have met with the Village of Hall & District Progress Association.

Our conversations with the community around our aspirations for the site and the ongoing comments and feedback throughout the year have been invaluable in generating ideas, challenges and potential solutions.

Our team has been working hard to bring all the ideas together and to work on the objectives, benchmarks and measures that will underpin a unique and successful sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.

Project reports

We are committed to carrying out all of necessary due-diligence reports and releasing them publicly when finalised. One of the major ones released in November 2016 was the Ecological Values Report.

The report featured research that has been undertaken over a series of years on our site.

We also released reports that summarised the neighbourhood drop-in sessions held in 2015 and 2016.

We’d like to thank everybody who has taken the opportunity to give us feedback, to engage, and to input to the vision at CSIRO Ginninderra.

The involvement from the community has been fantastic and we look forward to continue working together in 2017.

Think Tank generates ideas for affordable housing

Our Affordable Housing Think Tank on 8 April 2016 was a success – bringing out a wealth of ideas from an impressive gathering of industry, government, research and community experts.

The objective of the Think Tank was to generate shared understanding of the issues and to identify bold and innovative ideas for the delivery of affordable housing locally, and it did!

A range of ideas were discussed and broad agreement reached, that to deliver affordable housing that best meets the diversity of societal needs, the Ginninderra project should:

Thirty experts from the housing sector, ACT and federal government agencies, community organisations and CSIRO research teams took part in the Think Tank that will help inform a strategy for affordable housing in the Ginninderra project.

Think Tank participants suggested that planning and design should aim to ensure the site provides diverse housing types, meets the needs of diverse households, and in particular provides housing that is affordable to people and households across all income levels. Ideas supporting such multi-level affordable housing included:

These ideas and those generated through further research and community engagement will be tested and evaluated to inform a living strategy document that guides CSIRO’s approach to affordable housing as a key element to the overall development of the site.

CSIRO is aspiring to an overall design that embraces the ideas of the community and considers energy, water, emissions, waste, economic activity, health and wellbeing, and the environment – as well as integrating affordable housing.

CSIRO remains committed to working with stakeholders to push the frontiers of sustainable and affordable urban design.

The NCA process and beyond

Following the end of the National Capital Authority (NCA) public consultations, it’s time to look at what happens next in the process of seeking reclassification of the Ginninderra Field Station to “Urban Area”.

There are a number of robust processes, with both the Federal and ACT Governments, that govern land reclassification and development in the ACT.

The public consultation phase was an opportunity for members of the ACT community to provide feedback and input on the suggested change. At this stage, the NCA also has the opportunity to consult with key ACT Government agencies, including the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate.

Following the public consultation process, the feedback will be compiled into a report and submitted to the Minister, currently Paul Fletcher, Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects.

If both the NCA and the Minister support the reclassification, there are still a number of other parliamentary processes to follow before the amendment is registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

The change would take effect from this point, although the amendment is then put before both Houses of Parliament and is subject to disallowance. You can read more about the process in detail on the NCA website.

We expect to find out about the outcome of the request in February or March 2016.

We share the NCA’s commitment to community engagement. If you have questions or suggestions about the future use of the Ginninderra site, you can continue to contact us through this website.

Throughout this process we will continue to work on environmental and heritage studies to ensure that we have a complete picture of the site’s significant historical and ecological features.

We are hoping that our request to change the use of the land to “Urban Area” is approved. In the meantime, our scientists will continue to look at best practices in urban sustainability that could be adopted at Ginninderra.

We look forward to revealing more about our aspirations that could eventually make Ginninderra a world-leader in innovative and sustainable development.